The Union Democrat

49ers defense dominates: Here’s who made it happen

The 49ers found their winning formula against Rams, but is it sustainabl­e?

- By CAMERON SALERNO Jerry Mcdonald

—The San Francisco 49ers defense was simply dominant Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

Safety Jimmie Ward had two intercepti­ons, including one that was returned for a 27-yard touchdown. Nick Bosa and Arden Key both had sacks and the 49ers only allowed a single touchdown in the 31-10 win over the Rams on

ESPN’S “Monday Night Football.”

Ward’s first intercepti­on on the Rams first drive was his first since Dec. 11, 2016 against the New York Jets. His second intercepti­on also came in the first quarter, when a drop by Rams tight end Tyler Higbee fell into his lap. That gave the 49ers a 14-0 lead.

“It was great,” 49ers safety Jimmie Ward said on ending his intercepti­on drought. “(I) Feel great. I don’t even have any words to say about it. I guess I can enjoy it for 24 hours and then it’s on to the next week.”

Ward’s teammate and fellow defender Fred Warner was more enthusiast­ic about his performanc­e.

“This whole season he has been killing it,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said “... he’s the best man coverage defender or defensive back. ... I’m so happy for him. That was fun to watch. It’s fun to play

SANTA CLARA — If the 49ers’ over the Los Angeles Rams Monday night looked familiar, that’s because it was familiar.

Go back to 2019, the year they went to the Super Bowl. Or even last season when they beat the Rams twice.

So maybe it wasn’t all that shocking that for all the 49ers’ issues, the mere sight of playing

with a guy like that.”

Warner added, “I told him after that first pick he was going to get a second one.”

The win by the 49ers ended a drought they hope to forget. The last win at Levi's Stadium came, without fans, against the Rams on Oct. 28 of last year. The 49ers last home win with fans was the NFC Championsh­ip game in January 2020. The team's last home regular-season win with fans was against the Rams again in December 2019.

On the night, the Rams had five drops. Van Jefferson dropped two passes, including one in the end zone where he was wide open. Higbee and Cooper Kupp both had critical drops on third down.

After allowing 163 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to the Arizona Cardinals last week, the 49ers held the Rams to only 52 rushing yards. The lack of a run game by the Rams was due to the 49ers getting out to an early lead. The Rams played behind the sticks most of the night and forced LA quarterbac­k Matthew Stafford to attempt 41 passes.

The win by the 49ers saved the season. The team is now only a half-game back of 7th place, which is the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. They play the 2-7 Jacksonvil­le Jaguars this week on the road. The 49ers are 3-0 when playing on the East Coast time zone this season.

“We gotta work,” Ward said on the outlook of the rest of the season. “We have to feed off this momentum and we have to keep working. That's how we just won (tonight).

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